by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Biden administration gave $86 million to a company accused of peddling counterfeit COVID test kits manufactured in China, according to records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funding to CorDx, a COVID test kit manufacturer, in September. The deal will finance free testing products to American households and is intended to “bolster U.S. manufacturing.”
But records obtained by the Free Beacon raise questions about CorDx’s testing kits and its domestic manufacturing capabilities. One of the company’s competitors claimed CorDx sold knockoff kits stamped with a false brand name, in violation of Food and Drug Administration regulations, and that CorDx’s was producing the tests in China.
The news comes as the Biden administration has faced scrutiny over fraud in COVID spending and as it works to comply with regulations to spend the funding domestically rather than in China.
Genabio Diagnostics, a COVID testing manufacturer, in a complaint to the FDA in February accused CorDx of selling a “counterfeit version” of Genabio’s antibody tests—which had received emergency authorization from the FDA.
“To protect the public from these counterfeit tests and deter other unscrupulous actors from engaging in similar unlawful behavior, we request that FDA take swift action against CorDx to stop its violative behavior,” wrote an attorney for Genabio.
Genabio said it was tipped off by a former customer that CorDx was selling its tests without authorization and at a lower price point. An investigation by Genabio’s law firm, Cooley LLP, allegedly found that CorDx was selling fake versions of the tests, stamped with Genabio’s brand name, according to the FDA letter.
The products sold by CorDx had different text on the boxes, lacked QR codes, and included different swabs, among other discrepancies, according to Genabio. The company included photographs of the contrasting testing kits along with its FDA complaint.